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What Is A Forced Action Mixer?
Forced Action Mixers are the pinnacle in the mixing domain, providing thorough and powerful mixing for a multitude of materials and coping with the most demanding mixing jobs. Whilst suitable for many mixing capabilities they are very popular when it comes to resin-bound aggregate for driveways. You may have heard these machines referred to as pan mixers, resin mixers, upright mixers or agitator mixers. A Forced Action Mixer is essentially an upgrade from an old-fashioned cement mixer though is designed with an upright static drum.
How Is It Different From A Cement Mixer?
Apart from the static drum as opposed to the rotating drum on a cement mixer, how is a forced action mixer different? A cement mixer relies on gravity as the drum turns and folds the material together. However a forced action mixer uses internal paddles which rotate and cut through the material achieving an incredibly consistent mix. A cement mixer has no gears and it is the shaft that drives the v-belt whereas a forced action mixer is fitted with a more powerful motor which enables constant and robust mixing of the blades. Cement mixers are frequently the go-to since they are a familiar machine that have been around for many years and often people are unaware of an alternative. The Forced Action Mixer is somewhat newer on the market but is certainly experiencing a surge in popularity as they have many advantages compared to its predecessor.
A Forced Action Mixer is a powerful and versatile machine that will work with a wide range of products. With resin-bound driveways being currently in-vogue, the Baron Mixer comes into its own to achieve a consistent mix in which the stones and gravel are thoroughly coated. There are many other benefits to this popular machine:
- These robust and powerful machines are built to last
- Fitted with internal paddles to cut through material and create a consistent and even mix
- These mixers are reliable and fitted with a strong gear motor enabling quick and efficient mixing
- Forced Action Mixers will fully absorb water into the mixture and make sure it is smooth and lump-free
- These machines are ideal for earth-moist concrete (EMC) which can get very wet but a mixer ensures water is absorbed properly allowing for a seamless application
- With mixing time between 3-5minutes, jobs can be planned more accurately and finished more quickly
- They need minimal maintenance if they are cleaned regularly
- Fitted with excellent safety features and an emergency stop that will ensure the machine cuts out immediately if the lid is lifted
- Machines can be used both inside and outside and are designed with wheels to be easily transported
What Products Will It Mix?
How Does A Forced Action Mixer Work?
The clue is somewhat in the name and superior force is the name of the game when it comes to these machines. A forced action mixer is fitted with paddles/blades which rotate within a fixed drum and really do force through your material. The mixer is designed with a gearbox which multiplies the force to the paddles enabling it to mix tougher materials such as resins or floor screeds that an ordinary cement mixer would be unable to properly mix.
How To Use Your Forced Action Mixer
There are of course a number of brands of Forced Action Mixer available. At CES we hire and sell Baron Mixers. Below is a quick guide to how to use these machines. As always, please always follow specific guidance located in the machine manual.
Ensure the lid is closed.
Place the mixer on firm, level ground.
Check the mixer head is correctly installed and the metal shovels/blades are adjusted to a distance of 2-3mm from the base of the drum.
Check the correct voltage is supplied to the machine.
Only use approved power cables, plugs and transformers where required.
Once you’ve begun mixing, check the blades are rotating in a clockwise direction.
The Baron Mixer is simple to operate with a green start button and red stop below the drum as well as an accessible emergency stop button.
Once you’ve finished mixing, empty the drum by pulling out the handle of the trap door and the drum will empty automatically.
Preparation, cleaning and maintenance is a priority when it comes to your forced action mixer and will ensure your mixer is working at optimum level. It is important to clean the pan between each resin bound mix to remove any excess resin. Resin will quickly stick and set on the pan and old resin will contaminate any new batches leaving hardened lumps in what should be smooth resin. Before resin has cured it is easy to clean, it is only once it has set that it will become problematic. If you are not keeping up with machine maintenance, repairs can become costly and replacing with a new mixer even more expensive. If you are hiring a machine it is vital you keep the machine clean so you do not lose your deposit.
In terms of general maintenance you should check the blades for signs of wear after each mix. Whilst blades are designed to last, they will inevitably be susceptible to wear and tear. Lubricating the inside of your mixer regularly with WD40 or similar will prevent resin sticking. Of course it is also imperative to ensure your machine is booked in for regular services to keep it at the top of its game.
How To Clean Your Forced Action Mixer
Keeping up with regular and thorough cleaning of your mixer will repay you in the long-term since it will improve the performance of your machine . Take a look at our top tips for cleaning your forced action mixer.
- Always disconnect from the power. Remember water and electricity do not mix
- Wear the appropriate PPE
- NEVER remove stubborn resin with a hammer as this can damage the drum and invalidate the warranty
- Do not burn off dried materials. When mixing polyurethane resin with flames a toxic gas is created which is dangerous to inhale and can cause respiratory problems.
- Keep the trap door open when cleaning so that it doesn’t seize up and leave it open whilst drying out post clean
- To remove excess resin bound aggregate use a sponge soaked in white spirit followed by wiping clean with a clean dry cloth. Do a full clean immediately to prevent the material setting on the pan
- If any aggregate remains in the pan, empty 4 x 25kg bags of dry gravel and add 1 litre of high boiling point solvent (e.g. white spirit) and mix for 10 minutes before emptying the drum and disposing the gravel responsibly (never pour it on the ground)
- If stubborn materials remain, swill white spirit around the pan and clean with a wire brush
Resin-bound aggregate is made from a blend of aggregate or gravel coated in a clear UV-stable polyurethane resin. A forced action mixer completely coats the gravel in the resin to form an even cold-pour mix. This is then poured and hand-trowelled with a tool like the Resin Bull Pool Trowel. The material will achieve a smooth, flat finish with no loose gravel as well as being weed and frost resistant. As well as being an attractive material it is low maintenance being frost and weed-resistant. Resin-bound aggregate is also SUDS (Sustainable Urban Drainage System) compliant which supports reducing water entering our overworked drainage system and encourages natural absorbance through permeable surfaces. All new driveways must be SUDS compliant. Resin Bound aggregate can be purchased from companies such as Ronacrete or Limegate.
With 1 in 6 homes being at risk of flooding, it means you are more likely to be flooded than burgled. Urban expansion means there are more paved and tarmacked areas than ever and this is contributing to climate change. Driveways also have a part to play in this as they prevent water absorbing into the ground and therefore increase flood risk. We need to increase the amount of water absorbent surfaces around homes and gardens to allow water to slowly work down to underground aquifers and make its way back to rivers and seas. This is where resin bound surfaces step in since, as well as looking smart, they benefit the environment. Resin bound surfaces are a permeable material so there is no surface run-off. If you opt for a resin bound driveway, water is able to filter through naturally and make its way back into the ground.
At CES we stock Baron mixers. Baron is a particularly trusted brand which is 100% Danish-owned and place innovation and reliability at the heart of the company. Baron are the market-leaders when it comes to Forced Action Mixers, Conveyors and tools for landscape gardeners and pavers. The dependable nature of a Baron Forced Action Mixer can often mean a hire becomes a sale. At CES we hire and sell both the Baron F120 and Baron F200 mixers. The main difference between these two machines is the capacity of the drum. The F120 is a great option for mixing resin bound aggregate and floor screed and the F200 is recommended for mixing rubber crumb and again floor screeds.
*Prices correct as of October 2022.
Forced Action Mixer hire can be a great option for many companies. The benefits of hiring include:
- No transport hassle, the machine can be delivered and collected from site (of course this comes at a cost)
- The machine arrives fully tested, serviced and inspected and of course there are no maintenance costs.
- If you dabble in different machines and do a range of differing jobs, hire could be for you.
- This option improves cash flow as you don’t have the high initial outlay. The cost to hire can be from as little £175 per week
- There is no insurance and storage costs involved
However, if you go down the purchasing route there are also many advantages:
- You have a machine on hand for whenever you need it. With hiring, in high-season particularly, the machine you want may not be available.
- If 60-70% of your work involves the use of a forced action mixer, it is more economical to purchase a machine
If you are currently considering whether to hire or buy, take a look at our blog >